Why Pride Month Is Especially Important This Year

This statement can be attributed to Indivar Dutta-Gupta, president and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Washington, DC, June 28, 2023—Pride Month is a time for recognizing and celebrating LGBTQIA+ people and communities. With schools, businesses, churches, and community centers displaying rainbow and other colorful Pride flags, people throughout this country show support and solidarity. Through parades, poetry readings, and more, we make visible and honor the community and its love and diversity, and fight for inclusion and liberation. Given all that’s happened recently—particularly in state legislatures and local boards of education—we need more of us to step up, protect, and work hand-in-hand with the LGBTQIA+ community.

LGBTQIA+ people have long faced chronic economic and social prejudice and exclusion. In the current political and cultural climate, LGBTQIA+ communities—and especially trans people—increasingly face significant organized political hostility. Books that simply acknowledge the existence of LGBTQIA+ people are being challenged and removed from public and school libraries. Under “don’t say gay” laws, teachers fear losing their jobs if they mention their families. Laws in 19 states threaten access to life-saving gender-affirming health care, in some cases for adults as well as minors, and further mass criminalization by threatening felony charges for health care providers. Hateful rhetoric surrounding school sports teams threatens the health and well-being of trans and gender non-conforming people far beyond those directly affected by limits on who can play high school or college sports. And Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrent opinion when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year suggests that the Court’s protection of marriage equality could also be overturned in the coming years.

We stand in solidarity against these attacks on people’s dignity and right to exist. We and others who fight for social, gender, economic, and racial justice can learn a great deal from the LGTBQIA+ community—

  • from the courage of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, transgender women of color, and others who fought back against police brutality in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn;
  • from the skilled organizing of mutual aid and other efforts of those who cared for people with AIDS and taught us all how to survive a plague and effectively demand action from a government and society that wanted to ignore it and marginalize those affected; and
  • from the effective political strategy of those who brought legal marriage equality from a seemingly impossible dream to the law of the land in just a generation.

These stories of how the LGBTQIA+ community has fought and won against extraordinary odds are inspiring—and motivating. As we wrap up Pride Month let’s take action by joining our LGBTQIA+ friends in helping to create the just, inclusive, and equitable world that every one of us deserves.